Directed by: Steven Soderbergh Written by: Reid Carolin Cast: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Petyffer, Cody Horn, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer Music by: Jack Rayner
Duration: 110 min
Review: Magic Mike or how men who can act work hard for the money…naked
Was there any magic? Some.
Eye candy magic perhaps. Other than that, the movie was just 110 minutes of … scratch that. Eye candy alone. That’s what Magic Mike was about.
It was not about the American Dream. Good looking guy with a dream, of designing his own furniture (?) turned stripper while working at the constructions, finding the girl who would love him for who he is and finally getting closer to his dream only to lose it because of his integrity and good heart. Lame script, some funny lines and this titanic of a movie does not sink, and is finally saved due not to Soderbergh’s direction but to Channing Tatum’s acting. And the naked bodies of course.
Who would have thought?
When I heard that Soderbergh was coming out of hibernation to do a movie based on Tatum’s past, of being a striper (sort of), I thought “LAME”. Truth be told he didn’t do that much, as a director. Typical Soderbergh POV and some really tiring filters that made Miami look kind of swamp like, stripping it from all its glossy glam.
The movie was a vessel for women’s ovaries to explode under the slow cradle of McConaughey’s, Pettyfer’s, Manganiello’s, Bomer’s and Tatum’s body. I thought it would be a story on how Tatum came to be a stripper, what drove him under this economy to squeeze his construction working time into the stripper life only because he wanted to earn money, fast, to make his dream come true. Instead it felt as a sequel to an origin story where Tatum passed the torch along to Pettyfer whose character was so obnoxious and immature that became really disliked. Women would disagree of course, but here is where the nudity enters the stage. Even if that’s the case, Tatum overshadowed everyone ‘cause let’s face it, the guy can move, and not in the 1, 2, 3’s but really move. A dancer who really showed what he can do in Step Up, took his bon bon shaking bod and worked it hard, so to speak, and proved that he can act, maybe not Oscar worth performance but not as lame as other well built, all American look, actors of the same gen.
The script was kind of a letdown, and I mean what do you expect? It’s a story about, well, strippers basically. If it was about female strippers would be about abuse, an abusive relationship, a single mother, and overall the overcoming troubles until the clean start. Unless it’s a Demi Moore stripper movie that would immediately mean “FLOP”.
No real depth and the only character that does get some is, of course, the main character, Mike. Everyone else just sits around Tatum, like empty beautiful vases, naked extras if you like. It’s all fun and dance, and drugs, and women who can look but can’t touch and semi-naked bodies. Then the crisis comes where Tatum has to lose his money to protect Pettyfer ‘cause he promised to his sister, Cody Horn (who seriously they could have found someone hotter who can pull off the girl next door look), who he is in love with ‘cause she is “different” from everyone else.
Yeah, sure, the jock who wants women to like him for his character and not for his appearance, though that’s what brings the bacon night after night on the table. Big fat boo-hoo.
Did I mention the nudity? That’s why this movie was made, seriously.
Women have been objectified by Hollywood for ages. But it’s 2012 and tables have turned, upside down. The male body is the object of affection and women are gonna run to pay and see men strutting their stuff. That’s what’s all about.
110 minutes of nothing more than that. Women, and some men, in the movie theatre enjoyed it, some more than they should and time went by. It was fun, the ending was a huge ass let down but what do you expect? It’s Soderbergh. It’s not the Erin Brockovich of striptease, it’s more of a b movie by an A list director with a “getting there A-list” but seriously B-list cast.
It was fun. It was naked men who dance. And Channing Tatum overshadowed every single one of them, stole their thunder and was Magic Mike. The guy can move, for real.
Other than that, not a good movie, but you can’t look for depth in a superficial theme.
Directed by: Marc Webb Written by: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Cloyes (Stan Lee and Steve Ditko - Marvel comic book) Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field Music by: James Horner
Duration: 136 min
Review: When I read that Webb was rebooting Spider-Man, my first thought was, “Hell No!”. “No”, not because they run out of ideas, or ‘cause Spiderman 3 sucked, well not big time but it did. “No” because the web shooting, red and blue tights wearing, Mary Jane loving, Peter Parker’s adventures were still fresh and there was no need for a reboot or a sequel (and that even, I think, was way too early to shoot). It was as if people said, “didn’t they just came out with one like, last year or something?”… but that was not the case. The studio, after Sony refusing to give up the rights or come to an agreement so Spidey can be included in The Avenger’s, saw that there is still an audience out there that can be milked, an audience that loves super heroes and especially that web-slinger, wall crawler Peter Parker. So, with all of the above in mind, I decided to pay little to no attention to Sony’s reboot of Spidey.
Up until the moment I heard Andrew Garfield’s (fresh from The Social Network) and Emma Stone’s name!
Then I decided it was time to take a peek and see what the fuzz was all about, but even then I took the reboot with a grain of salt. I refused to go to the opening night and decided to wait a little, check on reviews, hear what people had to say and eventually see how it does on the box office.
Last night, I watched The Amazing Spider-Man. When I’m wrong, I admit that I am wrong, and I say that I am wrong. Last night, I was thankful I was wrong. The Amazing Spider-Man was nothing more than, amazing!
It begins like any other movie, not a super hero movie but a dramatic movie that is based on a comic book. It shows a different kind of origin of our favorite web shooter. I am unfamiliar with the comic evolution or the new/old takes on Spider-Man’s story but this was intriguing, fresh and interesting. We meet his parents, briefly, and we actually witness him being dropped of at his aunts and uncles house (the ever loving Sally Field and the great Martin Sheen).
Then the twist. This is not a movie about a dude who is bitten by a radioactive spider but instead of a teenager who tries to fit in and find himself. Andrew Garfield nailed it. He plays Peter Parker the way Peter Parker should and ought to be played. The hero/character has so many layers that over the years no Tobey Maguire sequel managed to peal. This is a kid, who is bullied at school, lost his parents, is brilliant for his age, has a crush on a girl who he thinks she doesn’t even know his name and lives with his aunt and uncle. Then he is bitten by that damn spider and his legend begins. However, this time we get to see the transition, the journey that he goes through in order to become Spider-Man. Yes, his uncle has to die in order for him to come forth, and he dies in a horrible and filled with guilt way but that is not the push that drives Peter Parker to put on the red and blue spandex. Responsibility, choice, the ability to do good because that’s the right thing to do, because that’s what makes you a man, and of course the danger that lurks at the corner after his father’s past resurfaces and takes a turn to the worst. That was what drove him to embrace his Spidey self.
Peter Parker puts on the mask. A mask that he is not eager to leave on but instead reveals his identity when chance calls for it. Not because he is hiding his Spider-Man with a mask nor ‘cause he hides his Peter Parker with a mask. No. His Peter Parker IS Spider-Man and his Spider-Man IS Peter Parker. He is not some freak by accident kid, he is not a bullied teenager, instead he is a hero who came to be, step by step, through guilt and trouble, through pain and introspection.
Garfield succeeds in expressing every single emotion his character goes through and becomes the (bad, at times) boy next door and our friendly neighbor Spider-Man. It’s not bad at all, of course, the fact that he has the wonderful Emma Stone by his side. That girl is simply breathtakingly beautiful and a fine actress as well. She fills the teen angst love story without becoming corny and that scene were Spidey reveals himself to her had the audience smiling. The girl can act, whether drama or comedy or super hero movie, she can carry her weight and make every part adorable.
Rhys Ifans succeeds in becoming the first villain of the reboot and dwells between his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, becoming a bad guy who you feel sorry for. His inability to fit in simply magnifies the excuse and reason for what he decides to do. At first his lizard like self is not very convincing but the close up shots were really amazing and even though the use of 3D didn’t add that much, the sharp look and detail of the Lizard was 100% entertaining and convincing.
Overall the movie ended in a very hero-like tone. And of course came the ultimate sacrifice. And of course the people of the city of New York came together to help out Spidey. And of course the All American Hero was born and he was loved across the city. And of course Peter revealed himself to his aunt, and remembered to bring the eggs.
It was entertaining, easy on the eyes, emotional, exciting and feel good, most of the time, reboot. I hope they take their time instead of rushing to make a sequel and I hope they stick to the characters and the good story telling like they did here. It was good, surprisingly good. Spider-Man is back and he is stronger, more American, and more humane than ever. Garfield and Stone are adorable together, and Webb did a really good job.
I recommend it. Might not be this summer super hero winner, and he might not be as good as The Avengers, but he is back and in the best way imaginable.
Directed by: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg Written by:Adam Herz, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg Cast: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Sean William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Jennifer Coolidge, Eugene Levy Music by:Lyle Workman
Review:Eventually all pies go bad. This is no exception. Yes, the recipe proved once more successful -box office wise (worldwide total of $232,274,318)- but the taste that this final (?) piece leaves in your mouth is somewhat bittersweet. Nothing original, nothing new and nothing you’ve never seen in previous American Pie movies, minus the full frontal nudity of Jason Biggs, and a hook up that was meant to happen between Jim’s dad and Stifler’s mom. No reason to bake this pie other than to milk a franchise that’s been dry for a long time now and a chance, perhaps, to remember its successful beginning.
Yes, the movie is somewhat funny, and there are a lot of light moments that I enjoyed. Of course the writers are betting on the fact that you’ve seen the previous installments and you already know the characters. If you haven’t and if you were a kid back in the day when the first one came out, these (kind of) out of date characters would look somewhat old farts and not funny at all. No, it’s not a “Dawson’s Creek” reunion, not even a “90210” reunion, this is an American Pie reunion and a Highschool reunion nonetheless. This means that you’ve heard the jokes and you’ve seen the scenes already. It also means that 12 years is a long time and that makes it even more awkward for actors who are now in their mid to late thirties to go back to a time when they were popular and had the world before their feet. Unfortunately (or fortunately) most of them didn’t quite take on Hollywood with the force they (were) expected to. Most, if not all of them (characters and actors) look different and with the exception of Biggs, older too.
Blink and you’ll miss the guest star appearances by Pie 1&2 favorites, pay close attention to Finch’s mom, ‘cause she is unrecognizable from all the face lifts, though she still looks good, and overall lower your expectations, think that this is another comedy that probably you should have waited to the DVD release and time will fly in no time.
Stifler is perhaps the only funny guy in this final installment of the once successful franchise. Everyone else looks as if they came back for the heck of it or/and the money. Tara Reid looks surprisingly good and the chemistry between the cast is still there. Jason Biggs gets the Adam Sandler look alike jokes, Hannigan’s Michelle reminisce about band camp, the ugly ducky friend of Michelle became hot, the hot (lips) chick put on some weight, and overall these characters evolved like any other Highschool/teen movie characters, with no depth but written for laughs alone, would evolve to. Yes, there were few laughs and yes, time went by pleasantly, but…
Reminiscing about the past, when things were different and innocent, instead of leaving us with a grin on our face and a “look how we were back then” feeling, American Pie: Reunion or American Reunion, leaves us with a sadness of a past that some seem to have been unable to overcome. Living on the glorious days of your past would do that to you, especially when most of the cast, with the exception of Hannigan, were not that successful after the two first “Pies”. Instead of revisiting the old town and their Highschool reunion moments, they seem to be unable to hold back that big exhale of “God, things were so much better back then”. By the end of the movie, the taste is more bitter than sweet and you realize that unfortunately even the funniest and popular kids are forced to grow up (and time hasn’t been nice to them).
It would have been better to remember them the way they were. It was fun, but please, no more.
Directed by: Ridley Scott Written by: Jon Spaihts & Damon Lindelof Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Alba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, and Patrick Wilson Music by: Marc Streitenfeld
Review: Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction and the Alien Universe begins with what seems to be an ode to Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life”. Throughout beautiful and crisp landscape images of primordial Earth (or at least we assume it is Earth), the camera pans and stops on top of a waterfall as a giant spaceship hovers above it. We see a figure that looks like Dr. Doom in the scene where he encountered the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer. The being looks over at the giant ship as it begins to ascend and finally leaves. An expressionless face that looks very much human like and a well built body are revealed. From a mysterious box, the being, tastes a what seems to be forbidden fruit and suddenly he begins to break from within. His veins deteriorate as his muscles begin to break and parts of him turn to dust much like the way Lord Voldemort’s evaporation. He falls into the waterfall and as his giant body reaches the bottom of the water, turns into million pieces and seize to exist. As the camera zooms in his cells and skin we witness the birth of evolution and we glimpse our very own double helix DNA. The ultimate sacrifice perhaps? The beginning of it all maybe? Our creator probably? We are left to speculate as to who that being was and why it came here and the reasons that drove him to become the sparkle that ignited our fire.
Then Prometheus begins. With a wink to the writers of Alien VS Predator, the writers of Prometheus set their story on an archeological expedition that discover a star map that points to the stars. This is our only shot of Earth and the introduction of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and her boyfriend Charlie Holloway (you may recognize him from “24” as the son of Senator Heller). The writer of Lost, Damon Lindelof, writes another Holloway and a lot of existential questions that fans of the show might find that derive from a similar path. A smile before the star map seals the scene and it turns to black.
The viral marketing has been superb, to say the least, and I recommend to step into the movie theatre after watching the following clips: TED 2023 (Peter Weyland’s speech), DAVID 8 (Michael Fassbender’s android character) and QUIET EYE (Elizabeth Shaw’s (Noomi Rapace) attempt to convince Weyland to fund her expedition - via Yutani -). After watching the clips you will be set to go fully informed aboard the Prometheus expedition.
Cut to a few years later from the scene on Earth. The technologically advanced ship “Prometheus” reaches the, well known to Alien fans, system of Zeta Reticuli (that actually exists) but this time it’s not the planet of Acheron LV-426 but instead its moon, LV-223. Question arise as to why the expedition peaked the moon instead of the giant planet. I guess Ridley didn’t want to go all the way into the Alien Universe. Inside the ship, although the scale is huge, larger than that of the Nostromo, bigger than the Sulaco, Scott decides to keep the white, sterilized atmosphere and set. Only this time the scale and the technology of it makes it clean cut and advanced compare to the rusty interiors of the Nostromo and the military rugged interiors of the Sulaco. However, this is neither a commercial towing spaceship nor a military craft. This is a scientific expedition that cost more than a trillion dollars and the set design of the ship exhibits how expensive it is. Scott and his art and set department managed to fill the space they were given and the interior of the Prometheus lucks no detail or imagination.
We are introduced to David 8 and to Michael Fassbender’s remarkable work. Yes, overall he seems to be the only actor with a character that the writers actually cared to work on but more about that later. Fassbender’s performance grabs you by the balls. (A)sh being a robot was a surprise, (B)ishop became as important almost as Ripley’s character to the fans and (C)all, well, she was a let down and a necessary insertion so we can have another android. (D)avid was the first, unless you count the wink of Andrea Bishop in the viral marketing. David was the first and his number (8) is another wink of the writers to the fans of the Alien franchise. Prometheus is filled with easter eggs for the fans of the Alien franchise and no matter how hard you try, or how convincing Scott is, nevertheless you cannot remove yourself from comparing the original franchise with Prometheus. Unfortunately this is both a good as well as a bad thing. More on David. He is obsessed with Lawrence of Arabia and he is copying Peter O’ Toole’s accent and hair style. Fassbender is remarkable, however a robot and a very invasive one as we see him penetrate the dreams of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw. There, at the very beginning, you have your leading lady. You know that’s she is the one who will make it, apparently, and you know that you have high expectations because immediately you think of Ripley. But she is no Ripley, do not be fooled. Scott introduces the Faster Than Light journey and the cryopods that we’ve grown attached to over the Alien franchise. Where it would take 10 months for the Nostromo crew to reach Earth from LV-426, it took the Prometheus crew 2 years and few months. Scott forgets no detail big or small. After their journey ends and they reach their destination, David wakes up the crew who suffer shock from the hypersleep.
We are introduced to the crew of the ship. They are very much expandable and we know that from the beginning. Reason one, Alien and Weyland-Yutani did not refer to the expedition, neither did the rest of the movies that followed. Reason two, the writers, as well as Scott, didn’t dwell on the introspection of their characters, minus perhaps that of Meredith Vicker’s (Charlize Theron). We know that they will face a horrible demise and we are prepared not to care about them. I believe that if it was up to Scott he would simply shoot the movie with his David and the Engineers but alas he needed hosts and that’s what this crew is. The crew of Prometheus was there only to reach the planet and become hosts for this new adventure to begin.
Prometheus lands on the moon. Inside jokes and fast paced action but not action packed scenes take it from there. I kid you not, this is a huge set and the epic canvas that Scott promised you it would be. It makes Alien look tiny, it makes Aliens looks pretty decent, it makes Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection seem alright but Prometheus is incomparable in size and scale. We are talking about a big ass set and a huge planet that Scott masters with his direction and you wish you had a hundred eyes to absorb the visual stimuli. Then the crew enters what appears to be a round pyramid-like structure in search for our Engineers. Shaw dwells on the conflict she faces between science and faith, a task mastered by Dana Scully on The X Files, while the rest of the crew seem out of place. David seems to have an agenda of his own and suddenly we’re drawn into a very familiar image of a time past. The Space Jockey’s appear in a hologram and we are amazed at the conception of the world that Scott imagined. Nailed to our seat we’re trying to discover easter eggs and at the same time see what is happening. We care not for the crew or Shaw and Holloway’s discovery and personal questions but instead we are biting our time to see what is hiding in that structure, who are the Space Jockey’s and how it all came to this.
Scott brilliantly set the bar high with the opening of the movie. They made us to their own image. Now a giant (narcissistic attempt) structure appears before us in the form of a head that looks very much humane. A large bio-mechanical Easter island head seems to be watching over mysterious urn-like pods as our crew enters the room. It’s dark, it’s bleak, it’s moody and it’s claustrophobic even though it is a huge set. Before their (and ours) eyes we see raw biology, energy, material that exists in a primordial form that reminisce the alien black oil of The X-Files. That goo has essence, it has a life of its own and it is the beginning of it all. Contact with that material, that surfaces from the pods of the Engineers, not only is life but it can evolve life into a new biological entity.
Then all hell breaks loose. From then on, it all goes straight to hell as Scott takes us on a scary, thrilling, throat raping, action packed ride. Glued to the seat, nail biting most of the time, the audience awaits for the next raw and newly formed entity to attack the men who came with their audacity to steal the fire from the Gods. The countdown begins and the body count grows bigger. A surprise (that some might have figured out by now) guest, David’s real agenda, as well as Vicker’s and our first grande alien encounter arrive a little over the half course of the movie. Women will fringe to the sight of Shaw’s self C-section and fans will applaud as the predecessor of a famous facehugger is born.
The action continues as “the King” Peter Weyland begs for immortality, coveting to meet his makers and we finally reach the part where we’ve been waiting for 33 years. We meet the Space Jockey (but not the one we met in Alien). He is not what the crew expected to be and none of them was prepared for the “Gods” reaction. David, the “son” of “the King”, becomes the instrument that would lead to “the King’s” fall and to some of the most depressing lines in the history of the Alien Universe. As the Engineer enters his chair and his ship (similar to the derelict spaceship that we encountered in Alien) ascends, designed to reach Earth, carrying the bio material, Shaw, (in the same way she chooses to believe in faith, she chooses to become the reluctant hero and give in to her fate) sets out to stop him and save us all.
The end is near. We are ready however for one last scare. The ancestor of the facehugger has to deliver the seed and show us what we’ve known all along (and been waiting to see). The remaining protagonists join forces to escape and Scott opens the door for an entirely new franchise that can either drift further away from his Alien Universe or walk side by side. Shaw’s question troubled us and her alliance with David is the go point and the stuff star journeys are made of. As another ship carrying the survivors sets out for more stellar trips and perhaps a visit to the Engineers planet, we are left to wonder and to crave for more. Questions arose and Scott failed to answer the greatest of them all. But the movie is not finished yet. Back in the vessel, where the ancestor of a facehugger lies dead, the Engineer begins convulsing and suddenly a familiar birth takes place before us. From the bio mechanic entity (the Engineer) something new is born that resembles a xenomorph queen. The camera zooms into it’s terrifying jaw as the newborn screams so anyone in space can hear it’s celebration for being born.
Maybe the other Engineers saw in that a bio weapon to use against their enemies or against us. After all “in order to create something you have to destroy it first”. Maybe that queen gave birth to the eggs that infected another Engineer that crash landed on LV-426. Maybe a weapon that was engineered against us found it’s way back into our lives. Maybe…
We will never know for sure. If Prometheus is successful, Scott will revisit this Universe and Shaw and David will take it from there. If not, this has been one great reboot of a genre much loved. David says that, “big things have small beginnings” and perhaps this is the best way to describe Prometheus. Yes, it is huge, scale wise. Yes, it is bigger than life, on terms of expectation and anticipation. Yes, it is a vast thrilling ride to a Universe we’ve missed. Nevertheless, it is the small beginning to one of the greatest franchises ever to have graced the silver screen.
Enter the movie theatre knowing that you have seen Alien but do not expect to see a new Alien movie because Prometheus it is not that. It is a lot of things, even a prequel of some sort, but it is not an Alien movie. It just takes place in the Alien Universe and now, it has a life of its own.
Looking forward to the next chapter of this brilliant, new, saga.